2 Words! Don't Bother! A predictable and boring film! The only saving thing at all is the beautiful cinema-photography! Other than that, you get villians who are stereotypical-evil guys! Your star who has self-doubts about a decision he made in the past and involved the death of someone he loved, (Can we say, Cliffhanger? A much better film actually.), and unbelievable (As in foolish!) stunts! The hero jumps off one side of a cliff, drops to the other with two ice axes in his fists and we are supposed to believe he can not only leap that far, but hang on to the axes while they somehow, dig into the sides of the stone cliff! Yeah, right! I have a problem with Hollywood films that ask us to suspend reality to that extent! I could have gone on, but you get the idea! Stay away! If you like this film, your mind is very small....
Peter (Chris O'Donnell) and Annie (Robin Tunney) are brother and sister who once shared a tragic mountain climbing experience. Since then, Peter has refused to climb but Annie gets lured into climbing K-2 with a novice billionaire. (Of course) they need rescuing and (of course) Peter leads the way.
This movie uses every mountain climbing cliché in the book and is so predictable, it's pathetic. After just minutes we know where the story is going and sure enough, it goes there. There are a few exciting disaster scenes, but they're weren't enough to hold my interest.
The Extras feature on the making of the movie was the best part of the DVD. I had assumed the actors were acting in front of blue screens with stock mountain footage in the background, but to my surprise they actually filmed it atop snowy and icy peaks (in New Zealand) and the actors did a lot of their own stunts. If I had known that, I might have been more patient with the movie, but it really was a connect-the-dots climbing movie, complete with dastardly businessmen, noble climbers, an avalanche, and deadly crevasses. Disappointing.
Now THIS is what I call an epic ride! My palms are basically still sweating as I write this, with the movie's impact and touching story still making my heart race. Don't listen to anybody who says this movie is anything short of incredible! It's got it all! It's a rare moment in your life when you come across something that moves you with both the power of MASSIVE fiery explosions and the pure strength of the human spirit. These two things come together for a story of passion and ambition, loyalty and revenge, and tests the breaking point of the human spirit at 26,000 feet.
OK, so what can I say that hasn't been said? First of all, this is a bold movie, combining deadly action with a story of family loyalty. You have to keep in mind that this is an action movie first though. The main attraction is the promise of nitroglycerin bombs rocketing minor characters through the air, flinging them over cliffs to their ultimate deaths. There's also avalanches with the same explosive power blowing people around like leaves. How cool is that?
Or you can watch it for the dialogue, which despite what other commenters are saying is really quite good. The script is so full and rounded with witty one liners, touching moments, and unspoken nuances which can only be displayed through precise acting. Really, the touching fight for survival is as unrelenting as the power of nature. If you like being rocked to the edge of your seat biting your nails as characters literally cling to life, only to to be thrust back again by insane explosions rippling through epic mountains (and who doesn't?), then there's no doubt this DVD will climb to the top of your collection! (no pun intended!) It has everything a good action movie should, with a little welcome extra to set it apart from the rest. And do yourself a service and buy the blu-ray version for SURE! I didn't even talk about the stunning scenery and sound, but you can see the other reviews to back me up on that.
"Vertical Limit" is a Fun Thrill Ride, which is to be Expected, some might also want a bit of Depth, or Character. Those who do will feel somewhat Letdown. Characters with Real Emotion and Reactions, Characters who we learn about and grow to care, if your looking for Characters like these.. Look Elsewhere. If your looking for two hours of Mindless Action and Thrills.. Look no Further. The Cinematography is Mind-Blowing, the Stunts are Unbelievable, Martin Campbell's Direction is pretty Standard Issue for him and the "Personality-Plus" Supporting Cast are Three times more interesting than then "Dull-as-Dishwater" Leads. (Chris O'Donnell and Robin Tunney are as Bland and Lifeless as 2 Stale pieces of Toast) If you go in expecting Cardboard Characters, Explosions, Close Calls and Inane Dialogue, you'll have a Great Time. If you Expect More.. I'll keep an Eye out for your 2 star review. P.S. If you've seen the Preview, you've virtually seen the film.
If I could give zero stars that's what I'd give this movie. Actually it should go deep into negative star territory! We should all sue the makers for the 2 hours of my life they stole from us. Don't bother to see this movie unless you are engaged in some kind of 'worst movie-athon' kind of thing. The plot is absurd, disjointed, implausible, overtly manipulative, and formulaic. The acting is just lame. The writing and dialogue are insultingly bad. What else shall we cover? Everywhere you look in this movie, you'll be disappointed. And for the Amazon.com movie critic's review to say that there is now finally a movie for the REI crowd - that is another outrage. To imply that climbers will enjoy this tripe is bizarre and totally wrong. This is just the latest cynical offering in a long line of stinkers from Hollywood in its attempt to cash in on the current mass-interest in outdoor sports. Climbers will be the most disappointed of all with this movie. As an active climber myself, I have made a point of seeking out all the movies that involve climbing... From Stallone's 'Cliffhanger' to omnimax 'Everest' to the ridiculous 'K2,' Hollywood is simply incapable of turning out a decent movie that mixes in climbing. At least 'Cliffhanger was a semi-engaging action film if you ignored the utterly implausible climbing sequences. 'Vertical Limit' doesn't even do that. It fails on every front. The only 'climbing films' that I could recommend would be Clint Eastwood's 'Eiger Sanction' and that old Disney thing that I can't ever remember the name of (it was based on a James Ramsey Ullman book - it's kind of a kid's movie, but at least it's well made). You'll have to get way off the beaten path to find really good climbing movies (Banff Mountain Film Festival is a good place to start - check out GÃ¶ran Kropp's movie about cycling from Norway to Everest, climbing it without oxygen, and cycling back). Sorry to stray from the movie review. It is truly terrible. It is right up there amongst the worst movies I've ever seen.
I remember hearing some really bad things about this movie, and being the climbing maniac that I am, I decided I had to see for myself. And although there were some obvious flaws (how could Peter survive the Death Zone when he had no previous high altitude acclimatization?) I found that this movie erased many stereotypes about climbing movies created by "Cliffhanger". I enjoyed the actors' performances, especially Scott Glenn (whom I had never heard of before seeing this movie). His character, the legendary, yet reclusive sage Montgomery Wick, reluctantly agrees to lend his efforts to Peter's rescue group. Wick comes across as being rather harsh, and unkindly, but in the later scenes of the film, everything changes. (There's one part in the film that I can't get out of my head: when Wick finds his long-lost wife, Myama, frozen in the snow.) I also like the fact that all of the actors actually CLIMBED, although the film was shot on Mount Cook in New Zealand, not the real dreaded K2. I liked how they were realisitc in the fact that after prolonged exposure in the Death Zone, you will almost certainly get pulmonary edema, and will die shortly after. I also like the fact that it's not a boyfriend who's girlfriend is climbing the mountain, so he HAS to help her because he loves her. Yes, Peter loves Annie, but because they're siblings. There is a nice blend between family conflict and the extreme of the mountain, not to mention that even if you hate the movie, the music'll at least jolt you to attention.
Overall I found Vertical Limit to be a pretty entertaining movie. It delivers enjoyable action and a decent story that are worth seeing. I'll leave the details of the story to editorial coverage, but will comment that one of the most frustrating parts of the movie was the enormous plot hole at the end. If you want to be critical of the film, then the special effects and climbing definitely don't stand up. I'm sure many of the climbing accidents depicting in the film have actually occurred (in some form), but not all in one expedition. :) Also, some of the more "dramatic" climbing action is clearly shot in a studio. In several of the film's scenes you'll find that things just don't look right. The extras on the DVD are mediocre. Naturally there is a bunch of information about how the movie was made, much of it focussing on how the cast went through real climbing training. I was excited to find a piece by National Geographic on the DVD, but that piece turned out to be a short segment that basically served as an advertisement for the real thing. All criticism aside, I did enjoy watching the film... suspending all disbelief once in a while isn't such a bad thing.